Week 2 NFL Betting Picks: Team and Game Totals
Handicapping Week 2 of the NFL season is always challenging. We've been eagerly anticipating meaningful football games for nearly eight months. After spending all that time forecasting and projecting team and player performances across the league, we've finally seen each team play, and it's difficult to put it into proper context.
What data is actionable, and what's one week of noise?
What is small-sample-variance, and what is a usage or situational trend that we need to get ahead of before the public does?
At its best, the transition between weeks 1 and 2 of the NFL season is a breeding zone for confirmation bias. At its worse, it's a chance to throw away all that you thought you knew heading into kickoff last Sunday afternoon.
In this space, I'll also be focusing on what I think is the biggest inefficiency in the market, and that's individual team totals.
Let's move forward and take a look at Week 2's plays.
*Betting lines accurate at the time of publication.
Week 2 NFL Totals Bets
New York Jets Team Total Under 18.5 Points (-110 BetRivers)
This is 17.5 at a few books, and it's still a play for me if it's above 17.
The Jets struggled to protect Zach Wilson in the opener against Carolina. They are now without starting tackle Mekhi Becton for four-to-eight weeks after he dislocated his knee cap in the opener. Historically, Bill Belichick has dominated rookie signal-callers, winning nine straight matchups until Tua Tagovailoa and Miami defeated New England last December. Getting this number at 17.5 or above forces four scoring drives for the Jets offense, something that I believe is incredibly unlikely against this deep Patriots defense.
Risk: 1.1 units to win 1 unit on BetRivers.
Los Angeles Rams Team Total Over 26.5 Points (-108 FanDuel)
The Rams led the league in offensive EPA per play in Week 1, and this new Matthew Stafford/Sean McVay pairing will likely remain a top-five unit all season long. The train will keep rolling this week against the Colts and their depleted secondary, who'll be missing anchor cornerback Xavier Rhodes for a second-straight week. Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Tyler Higbee should feast underneath against the Colts' zone-heavy cover 2 scheme. Getting this at 26.5, below the key numbers of 27 and 28, is crucial.
Risk: 1.08 units to win 1 unit on FanDuel.
San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles Game Total Over 49 Points (-110 DraftKings)
This matchup was on my radar on Wednesday when the total was at 50. It has since dropped a point in the past 24 hours, so I'm taking it at 49.
The Eagles were one of the Week 1 surprise teams, dominating a flat Falcons club from the jump last weekend. Philadelphia played with pace, while wisely scheming lower aDOT (average depth or target) passes for Jalen Hurts after Hurts was nothing but scrambles and deep shots in his brief time as a starter in 2020. The Eagles' offensive line protected Hurts from the Falcons' blitz-heavy game plan and if they're able to slow down the 49ers' pass rush, I believe they can take advantage of San Francisco's below-average secondary.
On the other side of the ball, Kyle Shanahan continues to prove he can run an efficient offense with Jimmy Garoppolo and a revolving door at the skill positions. The 49ers led the league with a 0.68 dropback EPA in Week 1, picking apart the Lions' secondary at will. I still have concerns that this Eagles defense has the depth and skill to be a top-10 unit, and I'm not willing to adjust that thought after one 60-minute performance against a lifeless Falcons team. This feels like a 30-27 game to me.
Risk: 1.1 units to win 1 on DraftKings.
Buffalo Bills Team Total Over 26 Points (-112 FanDuel)
The Steelers were able to drop seven-to-eight defenders into coverage last week while still getting pressure on Josh Allen. They took away running and passing lanes and forced Allen into quick decisions, something that remains a leak in his evolving game.
The Dolphins don't have the horses up front to replicate Pittsburgh's Week 1 game plan, and Allen has feasted on Miami in his six career starts. He's averaged 259 passing yards per game, with a 114.3 passer rating and a 17:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio against the 'Phins. I believe the Bills are Super Bowl contenders, anchored by an elite offense and coaching staff. I'm not willing to budge from that opinion after one game versus a feisty Steelers defense.
Risk: 1.12 units to win 1 unit on FanDuel.
For the most up-to-date picks, check out my Twitter and subscribe to our Discord. This sheet, from Dan Rivera, tracks all my betting picks (and those from the rest of the betting staff). Just click on the tab with my name on it for the results.
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